December 12th, 2008
04:06 PM ET

Bailout Bulletin: Detroit on the Brink

The latest auto bailout plan failed last night.

The latest auto bailout plan failed last night.

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Friday the 12th may as well be Friday the 13th as Freddy, Jason and Grim Reaper are knocking on Detroit’s door…the future of the American auto industry hangs in the balance after a $14 billion bailout measure for Detroit died in a late night Senate vote. The bailout’s failure could doom General Motors to a bankruptcy in the coming weeks, with privately-held Chrysler potentially following close behind. Ford has more cash on hand, but its production could be disrupted by supply problems.

But like Freddy and Jason, the bailout may not be dead yet. The Bush administration said this morning it will consider tapping into funds from the $700 billion financial bailout to rescue the auto industry. The statement - a change in the administration's long-held position - might be the last best chance to keep GM and Chrysler out of bankruptcy. And the Treasury Dept. says it stands ready to prevent the “imminent failure” of the automakers until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry.

Be sure to checkout CNNMoney.com’s extensive coverage of Detroit’s crisis.

Bad day at BofA… Bank of America said late Thursday it plans to slash up to 35,000 jobs over the next three years as it absorbs Merrill Lynch and contends with the deepening recession. The bank, which will be the nation's largest financial services firm when the Merrill Lynch deal closes in coming weeks, said it will announce a final job reduction plan in early 2009.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Finance • Oil
December 12th, 2008
03:31 PM ET

Caught in a firefight

CNN's Barbara Starr has the story and the dramatic video from April 2006 of U.S. troops caught in a firefight in Afghanistan.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Barbara Starr • War on Terror
December 12th, 2008
03:26 PM ET

Senate appointee – a dead man walking?

Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges.

Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges.

Steve Chapman
The Chicago Tribune

You'd have to be crazy to accept a Senate appointment from Rod Blagojevich at this point. But as the governor has demonstrated on tape, sanity is not universal among ambitious Illinois politicians. It's just possible someone thinks he or she could, in two years, do a good enough job in the Senate to erase the taint of being installed by an illegitimate governor. But that's an even bigger delusion than Blagojevich has ever suffered.

It's not clear that the Senate would even let the replacement take a seat. Maybe it would have to, given the requirements of the Constitution. But the Constitution doesn't set a deadline, and it's safe to bet the Senate would address the seating of the new member from Illinois with glacial speed.

Even if they finally have to accept the interloper, they don't have to be welcoming. Most congressional work is done in committees, and there's nothing in the Constitution that says a member is entitled to serve on a committee–in fact, the Constitution doesn't mention committees.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich • Steve Chapman
December 12th, 2008
03:19 PM ET

"Buy American?" A murky mantra

Ashley Fantz

With the top U.S. automakers in economic survival mode, "Buy American" is a frequent cry among those trying to save jobs at home.

But buying a car to benefit the U.S. economy has become an ambiguous, complicated challenge.

"How you define an American car is one of the great conundrums of this world," said Dutch Mandel, the editor and associate publisher of AutoWeek.

Fewer than half of the parts on some Big Three vehicles are made in the U.S.

Looking at a Ford Fusion? It is assembled in Mexico. The Chrysler 300C is assembled in Canada, but its transmission is from Indiana; the brand's V-8 engine is made in Mexico. Engines in the Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle are from China.

On the other hand, Toyota's Camry is comprised 80 percent of parts made in the United States, and 56 percent of Toyota's vehicles sold in the U.S. also are made here, according to Toyota spokeswoman Sona Iliffe-Moon.

The Toyota Sienna and Tundra also have 80 percent of their parts manufactured in the U.S.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy
December 12th, 2008
02:55 PM ET

The Shot: Shark diving

Anderson goes diving with sharks ...without a cage...

Filed under: T1 • The Shot
December 12th, 2008
11:44 AM ET

Blagojevich fundraiser held by Jackson allies Saturday

David Kidwell, John Chase and Dan Mihalopoulos
The Chicago Tribune

As Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to pick Illinois' next U.S. senator, businessmen with ties to both the governor and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich's campaign as a way to encourage him to pick Jackson for the job, the Tribune has learned.

Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records.

Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson's bid for the Senate.

Among the attendees was a Blagojevich fundraiser already under scrutiny by federal investigators, Joliet pharmacist Harish Bhatt.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
December 12th, 2008
11:29 AM ET

California's plan to counter global warming: a model for the nation?

The Department of Water and Power (DWP) San Fernando Valley Generating Station as seen December 11, 2008. Under a new climate plan, California would take major steps toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department of Water and Power (DWP) San Fernando Valley Generating Station as seen December 11, 2008. Under a new climate plan, California would take major steps toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Wyatt Buchanan
San Francisco Chronicle

California's air quality board approved on Thursday the nation's most sweeping plan to reduce global warming by curbing emissions, a move that state regulators hailed as a nationwide model for President-elect Barack Obama.

State leaders predicted that the blueprint, unanimously approved by the California Air Resources Board, would stimulate California's lagging economy by creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of commerce, while business owners said the plan would worsen the state's fiscal woes.

"Today is the day we help unleash the full force of California's innovation and technology for a healthier planet, a stronger and more robust economy and a safer and more secure energy future," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Energy • Environmental issues • Raw Politics
December 12th, 2008
11:14 AM ET

Obama gets a crisis 'test run'

Barack Obama says he has never spoken with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the vacant Senate seat.

Barack Obama says he has never spoken with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the vacant Senate seat.

Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times

It took three tries in as many days for President-elect Barack Obama to roll out a strategy for defusing the crisis over Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's alleged attempt to put his old Senate seat up for sale.

In his initial reaction, Obama said he was saddened by the episode, that he hadn't talked about the Senate seat with Blagojevich and that he wouldn't discuss an ongoing investigation. On day two, he added his name to the avalanche of public officials calling for Blagojevich's resignation, but questions mounted about which members of Obama's staff might have discussed Obama's Senate seat with Blagojevich.

Finally, in a news conference Thursday, Obama pledged to ferret out more facts. He also struck an emotional chord that had been absent. He said he was appalled by the scandal and would quickly release all contacts that his staff had with the Democratic governor, who is accused of seeking favors from the president-elect in exchange for elevating a preferred candidate to the Senate.

Obama's evolving response was the first test of his team's capacity to cope with a fast-moving political scandal while staying true to his promise to run a transparent shop with a minimum of secrets.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
December 12th, 2008
10:55 AM ET

Cleanse Islam from the imposters

Saudi monarch King Abdullah has called on Muslims to have a honest internal dialogue of Islam after recent events.
Saudi monarch King Abdullah has called on Muslims to have a honest internal dialogue of Islam after recent events.

Octavia Nasr
CNN Arab Affairs Editor

Saudi Arabia's monarch is the custodian of Islam's two holiest shrines, and the host of the yearly pilgrimage called "Hajj" one of the five pillars of Islam.

On this holy occasion for Muslims which brings hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world to pray and cleanse their souls, King Abdullah's message is about cleansing the Islamic house.

He said this week in a televised address, "Division, ignorance, and fanaticism are obstacles threatening the hopes of Muslims. And terrorism, which has been threatening the whole world and is attributed to Muslims alone, is caused by acts of fanatics who pretend to be Muslims but in fact represent no one but themselves."

This year's pilgrimage to Mecca takes place on the heels of a series of terror attacks in Mumbai against Western and Jewish interests. There are allegations that a Pakistani group with links to Saudi-born Osama bin Laden is behind the attacks.

And the King's message coincided with news from Guantanamo Bay that five detainees, charged with planning the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, told a judge this week that they're ready to admit their guilt. All five, including the 9/11 alleged mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said so in front of family members of some of the 9/11 victims.

The Saudi King knows the world is watching and just as he called for interfaith dialogue among all religions earlier this year, he now says, "Today we need an honest dialogue within Islam itself."


Filed under: Islam • Octavia Nasr • Religion
December 12th, 2008
10:30 AM ET

Colin Powell on Bush Cabinet

Colin Powell talks bluntly with Fareed Zakaria about conflicts he saw within the Bush cabinet.

Program Note: His full interview will air this Sunday at 1 pm ET on "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

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